Davos Theme Derived From Xi's Vision?; Liu He Promises A Lot In Davos Speech; SOE Reform Includes An Edict To Make Profits; Reform Leading Group Meets

Xi Jinping did not go to Davos this year but the CCP clearly sees the meeting as a key front in its global influence battle. Official media is in overdrive praising Xi's 2017 Davos speech and contrasting the PRC's vision for the world with President Trump's.  Much more on this below.  


The Essential Eight

1. Beijing Likes The 2018 Davos Theme "Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World" 

Xinhua says "the theme is developed from Chinese President Xi Jinping's landmark speeches at Davos and at the UN Office at Geneva a year ago". Is Davos now friendlier territory for Beijing than for DC?

Commentary: Shared future or America First - Xinhua:

As business leaders and policy makers from across the globe assemble in the Swiss ski resort of Davos to assess the state of the world, they are faced with two fundamentally different outlooks.

One is present in the theme of this year's World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting. Organizers say they aim to rededicate leaders from all walks of life to developing a shared narrative and focus on "Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World."

The theme is developed from Chinese President Xi Jinping's landmark speeches at Davos and at the UN Office at Geneva a year ago, where he made an insightful analysis of the challenges troubling the world and offered China's prescription: building of a community with a shared future for mankind and achieving shared and win-win development.

The other is upheld by U.S. President Donald Trump, who is expected to attend the Davos annual meeting this year. His signature self-centered "America First" policy has led his country away from multiple multilateral pacts and infused anxiety into both allies and the broader world.

China Keywords: Community with Shared Future for Mankind - Xinhua:

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping made a keynote speech at the United Nations (UN) Office in Geneva titled "Work Together to Build a Community with Shared Future for Mankind" in January 2017, the idea has gained wider international recognition for offering China's solutions to cope with global challenges.

A community with a shared future pursues an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.

According to the idea, countries should respect one another, discuss issues as equals, and resolutely reject a Cold War mentality and power politics. Countries should take a new approach to developing state-to-state relations with communication, rather than confrontation, and partnerships, rather than alliances.

According to the idea, countries should respect one another, discuss issues as equals, and resolutely reject a Cold War mentality and power politics. Countries should take a new approach to developing state-to-state relations with communication, rather than confrontation, and partnerships, rather than alliances.

It calls for settling disputes through dialogue and resolving differences through discussion, coordinating responses to traditional and non-traditional threats, and opposing terrorism in all its forms.

The idea stresses promoting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and making economic globalization more open, inclusive, and balanced so that its benefits are shared by all.

习近平提出“人类命运共同体”:中国智慧启示全世界-人民网

The 1.25 People’s Daily will run a long piece about the global importance of Xi’s thoughts on reshaping global governance. —人民日报长篇述评:让思想之光引领世界前行之路——习近平主席2017年达沃斯、日内瓦主旨演讲的世界意义_CCTV

Last week’s People’s Daily “manifesto” just looks more and more important…

Examining China’s “Community of Destiny” – Power 3.0: Understanding Modern Authoritarian Influence - Nadège Rolland:

What kind of community the Chinese regime wishes to shape has not been explained in great detail. However, its contours emerge in the dozens of speeches given by Chinese officials over time since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012. Before then, the term “community of common destiny” ( minyun gongtongti) was seldom used. Hu Jintao aired it in 2007 to describe the special relationship between the mainland and Taiwan, with the clear implication that two politically different entities could have reasonably good relations despite their dissimilarities. The phrase appeared again in a September 2011 White Paper on “China’s peaceful development,” where it underlined “the need for global governance and a just world order.”..

The subtext underneath the rather banal and benign-sounding concept of community of common destiny is, at a minimum, an indirect criticism of the universal values and core principles that hold up the existing world order. Implicit in China’s offer to let each member of the community “choose their own development path” is a rejection of supporting democracy, and as a corollary, of the related norms of rule of law, respect for human rights, and fundamental freedoms. The path that the Chinese regime has chosen for itself—a disinhibited authoritarian one-party system fully integrated into the global economy, showing no intention of evolving into a liberal democracy—is now being offered as “a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence.”


2. More From The PRC's Davos Delegation

Senior economic policymaker and likely Vice-Premier Liu He is the lead PRC attendee at Davos. His speech hit all the right notes about openness, reform and environmental protection. 

China to Surprise World With Reform in 2018, Xi Adviser Says - Bloomberg:

"Some measures will exceed the expectations of the international community," Liu said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, without specifying what the new policies would be. "Opening up is not only important for China, but also for the whole world," he said, adding that a fresh reform push was also a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the nation’s shift away from a closed Communist system.

Davos 2018: China's new Davos pledge—blue skies, literally, in three years — Quartz:

Liu He, Chinese president Xi Jinping’s right-hand man and the mastermind behind the country’s economic policy, made a concrete pledge to the country’s 1.4 billion citizens today: In three years, your skies will be blue again.

The video of Liu's speech—World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 | China's Economic Policy With Liu He

The full Chinese text of Liu He's Davos speech-直击达沃斯︱刘鹤演讲全文:阐述未来中国经济政策顶层设计_第一财经

The Harvard-Educated ‘Brain’ Behind China’s Economic Transformation - Bloomberg:

But while Liu [He] can be a smart and thoughtful expert, he ultimately remains a servant of Xi, according to George Magnus, an associate at Oxford University’s China Centre and former adviser at UBS Group AG.

“Everything of substance must now go to and through Xi, regardless of the leanings and preferences of people like Liu,” Magnus said. “He’ll certainly continue to give his boss the benefit of his opinions and advice, but implementation of anything has to pass muster with the president.”

Beijing Has Tools to Prevent Systemic Collapse, Regulator Says - Caixin Global:

“I can tell you, in the Chinese system if something happens to certain small financial institutions, what we will do – and this is a lesson we learned from the U.S. financial crisis – is that we will move very swiftly to contain that risk to make sure that whatever panic is caused by this small institution does not spread into the entire system quickly,” said Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), the nation’s stock market regulator.

Fang is also bureau director of the Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, a committee headed by President Xi Jinping that is in charge of leading and supervising economic work of both the Communist Party Central Committee and the State Council, China’s cabinet.

Comment: Fang made the remarks at the panel “The Next Financial Crisis?”. Fang did not join the 19th Party Congress Central Committee. Anyone know why?


3. Rule By Law As Long As The Party Rules The Law

Comment: It is sad that the detention of another rights lawyer seems to be an almost a weekly event. Can we believe Beijing's promises about anything when the claimed respect for human rights is flouted with increasing frequency and brazenness? Perhaps I need to strengthen my cognitive dissonance capacity...

Activists and wife say Chinese state media video is an attempt to discredit detained lawyer Yu Wensheng | Hong Kong Free Press:

On Tuesday, Shanghai-based outlet The Paper posted an edited video clip provided by Beijing police on its website. It accompanied an article about an alleged attack on police by a man surnamed Yu who was suspected of “picking quarrels.”

In it, a man is seen arguing with about half a dozen people, including some wearing protective gear and one filming the scene on his phone. The man can be heard saying: “I won’t cooperate, I won’t cooperate… You can use violence. I won’t cooperate.” Later, he swings a punch at a man ordering him to get into a car. After a jump cut, the other men appear to roughly push him into a van as he swears at them.

The video is in this tweet:

欧彪峰@oubiaofeng

強烈譴責澎湃新聞弄虛作假,為虎作倀惡意陷害余文生律師!
這段視頻很明顯是經過剪切拼湊合成,視頻右下角上排中間的那串數字應該是警方執法記錄儀的編號,由9072235和9072354兩台設備視頻拼湊合成,在第31秒時間由06:59:53跳至06:52:58,第39秒時又由06:53:06跳至07:01:51。https://t.co/6T33ZMvWZa pic.twitter.com/SuJEYDdynt

January 23, 2018
 

China disbars another human rights lawyer in crackdown’s aftermath | Reuters:

Authorities in China’s southern province of Guangdong have cancelled the legal licence of human rights lawyer Sui Muqing, he said on Tuesday, a week after another prominent rights lawyer was detained following similar punishment.

National supervision commission and China’s silenced legal elites — Jerome A. Cohen | 孔傑榮(柯恩):

The second plenum of China’s 19th Party Congress was concluded last week. It paved the way for amending the Constitution to establish a National Supervision Commission. But this proposed “reform” has encountered fierce misgivings, especially among three expert groups: members of the Procuracy, i.e., the national and local prosecutors; influential scholarly specialists in constitutional law and criminal justice; and human rights and criminal defense lawyers.

The anticipated Constitutional and legislative changes represent a huge setback for almost four decades of official, scholarly and professional efforts to establish a rule of law that will protect the rights of individuals in their dealings with the government and the Communist Party. 

Qiushi has published a Q&A on on the recent Qiushi article 西方 “司法独立” 为什么在中国走不通 explaining why an independent judiciary along Western lines is a bad thing. Both reiterates that 依法治国 Rule by Law means based on the law as formulated by 'Party leaders and the masses'. The Q& A respondent Shi Rong apparently studied at Duke and LSE - 清醒!西方“司法独立”在我国走不通 - 求是导读 :

习近平总书记指出:“全面推进依法治国,必须走对路。如果路走错了,南辕北辙了,那再提什么要求和举措也都没有意义了。”一些人认为应当将“司法独立”作为我国司法体制改革的方向。西方“司法独立”真的能在中国走得通吗?2018年第2期《求是》杂志刊发的文章《西方“司法独立”为什么在中国走不通》,列举了西方“司法独立”的历史局限性,及为什么在我国行不通的原因。从而得出:只有“依法独立公正行使审判权检察权”司法体制才是符合我国国情的,才是有利于满足人民对公平正义的需求。求是导读为您详解!

田飞龙:在新时代重思法治与人治关系_爱思想

China Focus: China strengthens property rights protection to enhance entrepreneurial confidence - Xinhua:

"We will safeguard entrepreneurs' personal rights, property rights, and right to dignity to make them feel safer and more secure," Guo Shengkun, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the committee, stressed during the conference.


4. Sweden Is Really Angry About the Gui Minhai Case, But What Can The Country Do?

Statement in connection with the detention of Swedish citizen Gui Minhai - Government.se:

As has been clear from media reports, Mr Gui Minhai was at the time of his detention in the company of diplomatic staff, who were providing consular assistance to a Swedish citizen in need of medical care. This was perfectly in line with basic international rules giving us the right to provide our citizens with consular support.

The Chinese authorities have assured us on numerous occasions that Mr Gui Minhai has been free since his release having served a sentence for a traffic-related offence, and that we can have any contact we wish with our fellow citizen.

Sweden Wants Answers About Its Seized Citizen. China Isn’t Giving Any. - The New York Times

The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s public reticence about Mr. Gui “probably indicates that the national security apparatus is calling the shots, and the foreign ministry may be out of the decision-making loop,” William Nee, a China researcher for Amnesty International, said by email.

Ever since the five publishers were taken, “the notion of ‘how this might make China look abroad’ never seemed to be a primary consideration,” Mr. Nee said.

Comment: Or Beijing doesn't care because they know that counties are too reliant on PRC economic ties to risk their relationship with the PRC over human rights.

Meanwhile, Sweden is open for business--Lysekina: SOE, PLA-linked United Frontling want a deep-sea port in Sweden | jichang lulu:

Backed by state-owned China Communications and Construction (CCCC, 中交建), a well-known Hong Kong-based United Front figure is lobbying a small Swedish municipality to build a large deep-sea port.

In a tactic seen elsewhere, state-linked investors leveraged Sweden’s decentralisation to avoid the scrutiny that comes with interactions at a national level. Last November, Lysekil municipality officials, overseeing the local affairs of a population of 14,000, were Powerpoint-presented with an investment plan that included the new port, expanding the existing one, a logistic centre, a bridge, roads, a health resort “with Michelin Star restaurants”, all manner of shiny stuff, and given ten days to respond.


5. Is The Vatican Getting Closer To Dumping Taiwan For The Mainland?

Vatican ‘asks underground Chinese bishops to stand aside for government-backed ones’ | CatholicHerald.co.uk:

The Holy See has reportedly asked two Chinese bishops to stand aside to make way for illicitly ordained, Chinese government-backed counterparts.

A Vatican delegation asked Bishop Peter Zhuang of Shantou and Bishop Jospeh Guo Xijin of Mindong to retire or accept demotion in order to smooth relations with the Chinese government.

Asia News, the outlet of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, reports that 88-year-old Bishop Zhuang received a letter dated 26 October asking him to resign to make way for the government-backed Bishop Huang Bingzhang.

外媒:梵蒂冈在主教任命上让步大陆 台又担忧这事|梵蒂冈|主教|台湾_新浪新闻:

此消息传出后,引发台湾方面担忧。民进党“立委”罗致政表示,照目前情况看来梵蒂冈与大陆正朝向正常化的政治态度,如果关系有重大突破,对台湾“外交”则是一个警告。这不仅可能影响梵蒂冈和台湾的“外交关系”,对于台湾其他属于天主教信“友邦”也会造成一定程度影响。

The Vatican appears to have a good grasp of cognitive dissonance.

Party members sign pledge to shun religion - Global Times:

"Party members should not have religious beliefs, which is a red line for all members," Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, wrote in a July 2017 article released in the Qiushi Journal, the flagship magazine of the CPC Central Committee. "Party members should be firm Marxist atheists, obey Party rules and stick to the Party's faith… They are not allowed to seek value and belief in religion."

Officials of faith should be persuaded to quit and those who resist will be punished by the Party organization, Wang wrote.

The Chinese government is officially atheist. Members of the ruling Communist Party of China are not allowed to practice religion but China protects ordinary residents who want to practice their faith.


6. SOE Reform Includes An Edict To Make Profits 

China's state-owned firms to face more mergers, bankruptcies - Reuters:

In a rare interview with a foreign news outlet, Xiao Yaqing, chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), stressed Beijing’s commitment to streamline its bloated and debt-ridden state-owned sector and create conglomerates capable of competing globally...

“Our wish is for them to be bigger, stronger and more efficient. And this is what they’re about to be in the future,” Xiao told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday.

He said the focus would be to strictly separate government functions from the SOEs’ business operations, though it was vital for the ruling Communist Party to retain control of the state sector during the process.

China Orders State-Run Companies to Make Profits - Bloomberg:

The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission told senior executives on Jan. 15 about the edict, which will apply to all of the nation’s 98 central SOEs, according to the people, who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter with the media. It was the first time in recent memory that the government made it mandatory for SOEs to make profits, they said.

Unicom Invites Private Company Executives to Its Board - Caixin Global:

Baidu CEO Robin Li, Tencent Senior Executive Vice President Lu Shan and Alibaba Cloud Computing Group President Hu Xiaoming are among the executives nominated to join Unicom’s board, which will expand from seven directors to 13, the telecommunications giant said in an exchange filing on Tuesday.


7. Beijing Orders Softer Media Coverage Of HNA And Wanda

Comment: Their bankers and creditors may want to start panicking?

Chinese media told to tone down coverage of giant firms’ debt, finance woes | South China Morning Post:

Chinese media outlets were told not to play up the financial and debt problems of big Chinese conglomerates such as HNA Group and Dalian Wanda Group, according to two sources briefed on the instructions issued by the authorities. ...

The instructions issued a few weeks ago were not a ban on coverage of specific companies, but a reminder that media reports should not help stir or spread market panic, the sources said.

Another two sources with Chinese state media told the South China Morning Post general guidelines on cautious reporting to ensure market stability were always in place, but were often updated with more specific instructions if there were signs of turbulence in the markets.

Bloomberg has not gotten the memo about softening coverage of HNA's debt mess

China's Beleaguered HNA Group Faces a Debt Wall in Second Half - Bloomberg

HNA is under mounting pressure as several banks are said to have frozen some unused credit lines to its units after missed payments. That follows a $40-billion-plus buying spree that saw the conglomerate emerge from obscurity to take large stakes in companies including Deutsche Bank AG and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. in recent years.

The bill on maturing offshore and onshore notes for the group and its units will swell to more than 12 billion yuan ($1.88 billion) in both the third and fourth quarters, from 1 billion yuan this quarter, Bloomberg-compiled data show. This debt wall is all the more problematic because the yields on some of its bonds have surged to about 20 percent, the highest since they were sold.


8. Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform of the 19th CPC Central Committee Meets

Comment: The group has quite an ambitious agenda.

China determined to remove institutional barriers through reform - Xinhua:

China will target institutional barriers and deeply embedded interests in reform this year, said a statement from a Communist Party of China (CPC) reform leading group on Tuesday.

Priority should be given to reforms in key areas including state-owned enterprises and state-owned assets, monopoly sectors, finance and taxation, property rights protection, rural revitalization, social security, opening up, and ecological conservation, according to the statement issued after the second meeting of the Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform of the 19th CPC Central Committee.

Highlights:

Chinese leaders also approved a guideline on establishing a mechanism to appropriately solve trade and investment disputes among the Belt and Road countries according to law.

China will tighten the examination of transferring intellectual property rights (IPR) to foreigners, particularly those concerning state security, according to a regulation adopted at the meeting.

Other measures outlined at Tuesday's meeting include reform of Confucius institutes, basic pension schemes, management of important scientific data, and supply of generic drugs.

Senior officials Li Keqiang, Zhang Gaoli, Wang Yang and Wang Huning attended the meeting.

习近平主持召开中央全面深化改革领导小组第二次会议强调 思想再解放改革再深入工作再抓实 推动全面深化改革在新起点上实现新突破: 

会议审议通过了《关于推进社会公益事业建设领域政府信息公开的意见》、《关于提高技术工人待遇的意见》、《关于建立城乡居民基本养老保险待遇确定和基础养老金正常调整机制的指导意见》、《积极牵头组织国际大科学计划和大科学工程方案》、《关于推进孔子学院改革发展的指导意见》、《关于建立“一带一路”争端解决机制和机构的意见》、《关于改革完善仿制药供应保障及使用政策的若干意见》、《科学数据管理办法》、《知识产权对外转让有关工作办法(试行)》、《地方党政领导干部安全生产责任制规定》。会议还审议了《浙江省“最多跑一次”改革调研报告》。

The Confucius Institute reforms discussed at the meeting emphasize the CI's role in serving the PRC's "major country diplomacy":

会议指出,推进孔子学院改革发展,要围绕建设中国特色社会主义文化强国,服务中国特色大国外交,深化改革创新,完善体制机制,优化分布结构,加强力量建设,提高办学质量,使之成为中外人文交流的重要力量。


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China’s ExIm Bank commits $4bn in push beyond infrastructure - FT $$ Export-Import Bank of China is releasing a $4bn wave of private equity capital that will broaden the state-controlled overseas investor’s scope beyond infrastructure as it seeks to compete with global funds for diversified assets. In Southeast Asia, one ExIm Bank-backed investment group is preparing to launch a fund of up to $3bn that will target infrastructure as well as telecoms and travel businesses, according to an adviser for the fund.

Ant Financial Gains Approval to Issue Securities Backed by Consumer Loans - Caixin Global Ant Financial Service Group has won regulatory approval to issue securities products backed by consumer loans, just one month after regulators slapped restrictions on online microlenders’ fundraising activities. Ant Financial, the online financial service provider affiliated with Alibaba Group, confirmed to Caixin that it has resumed plans to issue asset-backed securities (ABS) supported by debts and receivables of its online microloan services Huabei and Jiebei.

Troubled LeEco Unit to Resume Trading - Caixin Global The market and shareholders are projecting its share price will plunge after trading resumes, and several mutual funds have internally downgraded its valuation to 10% of its previous size, Caixin has learned.

How China's cryptocurrency exchange ban affected BTCC - Business Insider BTCC founder and CEO Bobby Lee told Business Insider: "We always knew it was a risk that the Chinese government would look unfavourably on bitcoin and put some strong rules around it. "We were always running it with a sense of uncertainty, we were operating in a grey area. Finally last year, 2017, they made a final decision, which was to essentially shut down all exchanges. It was unfortunate but it was in the realm of our worst possibility."

Tighter Regulation Dents Insurers’ Premium Income Growth - Caixin Global The industry reported revenue from premiums paid by customers on new and existing insurance policies rose 18.2% in 2017 to 3.66 trillion yuan ($571.5 billion), down from a growth rate of 27.5% in 2016, according to figures released by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) on Monday. Sales of controversial universal life insurance policies fell by 50.3% to 636.3 billion yuan, the data show, after the commission banned some companies from selling the short-term high-yield products because of concerns they were being used to finance long-term risky investments.

Bangladesh blacklists China Harbour Engineering for ‘bid to bribe secretary’ - bdnews24.com “The firm offered Tk 5 million in bribes to the communication secretary. The secretary informed us about the matter. That’s why we’ve blacklisted it. It won’t be able to work anymore,” the minister told reporters at the Secretariat on Tuesday.

Communication breakdown risks escalating Sino-US trade row, say former officials | South China Morning Post “I suspect there are going to be actions under [the] 301 investigation, which will be much more significant to China,” said Wendy Cutler, vice-president of the Asia Society Policy Institute and a former acting deputy US trade representative. “From what I heard so far, it is a pretty comprehensive review and investigation, and the administration may take significant actions such as investment restriction and tariffs.”

US forgets tariff policies run both ways - Global Times There are many countermeasures China could enact against the US. For example, US beef exports have experienced rapid growth in China, but that could change if Beijing decided to raise the bar on its health and safety standards. China is one of America's most vital trading partners regarding agriculture exports like soybeans and cotton. If a trade war erupted, many nations would have the opportunity to replace the US.

China urges integrated development of e-commerce, delivery and logistics industries - Gov.cn The State Council has issued a circular putting forward suggestions on integrated development of the e-commerce and the delivery and logistics industries, as part of the Internet Plus Circulation action plan.

Regulator Rejects Six of Seven IPO Applications at Latest Review - Caixin Global China’s top securities regulator rejected six of the seven initial public offering (IPO) applications considered at its latest review session (link in Chinese), making it the biggest single day of rejections since a powerful new panel took charge of the process. Monday’s unprecedented outcome dragged the panel’s approval rate to a new low of 53%, down from around 80% during the previous panel’s tenure.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

China to uproot "protective umbrellas" of organized crime - Xinhua A document issued on Wednesday stressed that a campaign on organized crime should involve fighting corruption, including lower-level corrupt officials, and deal with "protective umbrellas" of gang crime. Disciplinary agencies should punish Communist Party of China (CPC) members involved in gang crime in disciplinary supervision and inspection, according to the document released by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. 中共中央 国务院发出《关于开展扫黑除恶专项斗争的通知》-新华网 // Comment: This could get interesting, wonder if Xi will take nationwide what Bo Xilai did in Chongqing?

CPC paper reminisces about Xi's early political career - Xinhua A Communist Party of China (CPC) newspaper is publishing a series of interviews on the political career of President Xi Jinping in Zhengding County in the 1980s. The first installment on Wednesday features Cheng Baohuai, former head of the county, who talked about his memories of Xi in an interview with the Study Times, a weekly newspaper affiliated to the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. From March 1982 to May 1985, Xi was deputy secretary and then secretary of the CPC Zhengding County Committee in north China's Hebei Province. He has referred to the location as the starting point of his political career. “正定确实是近平同志从政起步的地方” 

China Leadership Monitor Winter 2018 Issue 55 | Hoover Institution 

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

US may upset Beijing after it backs Indonesian claim on South China Sea near Natuna islands | AP “We can help maintain maritime domain awareness in the South China Sea, the North Natuna Sea,” Mattis added. “This is something that we look forward to doing.” In July, the Indonesian government unveiled an updated national map in which the country’s exclusive economic zone north of the Natuna Islands had been renamed the North Natuna Sea. It was previously part of the South China Sea.

Out of Order Podcast – German Marshall Fund we discuss the “China shock” ˗ the analysis that China, as a massive rising economic power, has been one of the causal factors for the crisis in Western democracies, in particular by taking manufacturing jobs in some regions. We also contemplate the “contest for the future” and what it means if an illiberal power like China takes the lead in various technological areas, such as AI, space, genomics, and nano-tech.

Why America’s stealth jet forces should fear China’s new unarmed eye in the sky  | South China Morning Post State media confirmed for the first time on Monday that China was building its first carrier-borne early-warning plane called the KJ-600

奋力开创新时代侨务工作新局面--时政--人民网 Yang Jiechi gives a speech at the national conference of directors of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office // 杨洁篪强调,要深刻领会习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想,全面贯彻落实党的十九大精神,准确把握侨务工作面临的新形势新任务,推动侨务工作实现新发展。要围绕中心、服务大局,引导广大海外侨胞和归侨侨眷投身创新驱动发展、区域协调发展、“一带一路”建设等。要突出为侨服务、团结凝聚侨心,创新体制机制,进一步发展壮大海外侨界爱国友好力量,发挥好他们在弘扬中华文化、促进中外交流、推动构建人类命运共同体等方面的独特作用,共同为中华民族伟大复兴贡献力量。

US Treasury official presses Hong Kong, Beijing on NKorea - AP A U.S. Treasury official said Wednesday she has urged officials in Hong Kong and Beijing to step up measures to counter North Korean smuggling and financing, as part of Washington’s fine tuning of efforts to shut down Pyongyang’s nuclear program. Treasury Undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence Sigal Mandelker said she told Hong Kong officials it should be harder for North Korea to use shell companies registered in the Asian business hub.

China Woos Guinea with Satellite-TV Deal - Caixin Global China has signed an agreement with the oil-rich West African nation of Guinea to bring satellite-TV services to more than 300 villages, reflecting Beijing’s ongoing soft-power push in the continent. The agreement is part of China’s ambitious plan to provide such services to 10,000 villages in 25 African countries by the end of 2018. The plan builds on a concept introduced by President Xi Jinping in 2015 at the sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, held in Johannesburg.

Beijing Goes Boldly into Anti-Satellite Weapons Frontier - The Cipher China has spent more than a decade exploring technology for interfering with foreign satellites. Non-kinetic means have included directed energy or cyber capabilities, while kinetic approaches include direct-ascent missiles and co-orbital platforms travelling alongside satellites in orbit. Much of this counter-space research has taken place with dual-use capabilities that provide a level of deniability. That could be hiding Chinese intent to develop ASAT capabilities for deployment during a time of crisis.

PLA assists private courier firm to launch operations in Tibet - Times of India The flight will reserve space for the PLA providing it with new means to airlift military cargo in and out of Tibet, an official of the logistic support department of the Central Military Commission was quoted as saying. The move marked the PLA's latest effort in pursuing the military-civilian integration strategy, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.

 

Hong Kong, Macao

Veteran Hong Kong officials among new faces to be named to China’s top political advisory body | South China Morning Post Veteran Hong Kong officials including ex-World Health Organisation head Dr Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun are expected to be among the new national committee members of China’s top political advisory body in its next five-year term, sources said. The city’s first chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, 80, will also stay on at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) as a vice-chairman.

 

Tech And Media

Beijing-based Ofo wants to launch its stationless bike-sharing service in SF, but it’s not allowed to | TechCrunch Beijing-based stationless bike-sharing startup Ofo is crying foul at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency over its decision to have an exclusive pilot program with startup JUMP. Earlier this month, JUMP obtained an exclusive permit with the SFMTA  to launch 250 dockless, electric bikes in San Francisco.

WeChat Pay Now Allows Users to Bind Overseas Credit Cards | TechNode Tencent’s WeChat Pay, one of China’s major mobile payment services, announced today that international credit cards are now allowed on the mobile payment platform. Expats living in China and residents of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan – places where WeChat is ambitiously expanding its user base – can now bind and activate WeChat Pay accounts with credit card services provided by MasterCard, Visa, and JCB. It’s worth noting that this is the first time users are able to use WeChat Pay without having a Chinese bank account or credit card, according to a company statement from Tencent.

Another Key Figure Ejects From Baidu’s Self-Driving Car Unit - Caixin Global Wu Xuebin — who joined Baidu in September 2016 after 20 years in the auto sector — confirmed to Caixin on Tuesday that he has stepped down as vice president of the company’s self-driving division.

Prodigal Frogs Are China’s Latest Gaming Fad | China Film Insider “Traveling Frog,” developed by Japanese game maker Hit-Point, is currently the No. 1 most downloaded free app on Apple’s iOS China App Store. On microblog platform Weibo, posts containing the hashtag “Traveling Frog” have been read over 440 million times. Many of the game’s Chinese fans take to social media to share updates about the lives of their precious pets, which have a tendency to go on long vacations without offering so much as a goodbye. Players can tell their social networks how long their frog has been away, what kinds of souvenirs it brought back from its last trip, and where its last postcard came from.

ApplePay Growing Fast But Still Bit Player in China: UnionPay - Caixin Global About 20% of UnionPay’s 94 trillion yuan ($14.2 trillion) in annual transaction volume now comes from near field communication (NFC) technology payments, a newer technology that allows people to pay for items using smartphones over short distances without swiping a card. But of those NFC transactions, only a very small number come from Apple’s ApplePay, as well as similar third-party payment systems operated by South Korea’s Samsung and China’s own Huawei, UnionPay corporate strategy chief Liu Yuan told Caixin on Wednesday.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

‘Me Too,’ Chinese Women Say. Not So Fast, Say the Censors. - The New York Times Chinese women are finding it difficult to organize a far-reaching #MeToo movement, going up against not just a male-dominated culture but also the ruling Communist Party itself. Government censors, apparently fearing social unrest, are trying to hobble the campaign, blocking the use of phrases like “anti-sexual harassment” on social media and deleting online petitions calling for greater protections for women. And officials have warned some activists against speaking out, suggesting that they may be seen as traitors colluding with foreigners if they persist.

Women and Gender in China (WAGIC) Podcast In WAGIC’s very first podcast, hosts Tessa Qiu and Yuan Ren are joined by researchers Dr Monica Merlin (Birmingham School of Art), Luise Guest (White Rabbit Collection), Christina Yuen Zi Chung (University of Washington) and artist Yi Dai to respond to the questions: What is a 'Chinese woman artist'? And is there such a thing as 'Chinese women’s art'?

China’s LGBT activists break away from Western agenda, bring their own experience to the world - Global Times Like Ripley, today, a growing number of Chinese LGBT groups and related NGOs are making a more noteworthy presence on the world stage. In addition to their signatures, many also provide training courses for foreign LGBT groups to "impart Chinese experiences in the LGBT movement," as well as actively participate in the world LGBT agenda. "It is a new era for China's LGBT groups. In the beginning we only cared about HIV/AIDS prevention so our motivation to go out to the world stage wasn't strong. But now our concerns are more diversified, which require more international communications," said Ah Qiang, a well-known gay rights activist and founder of PFLAG China, an NGO focusing on helping parents of gay men.

The Maybe-Magic Well Water of Twins Town - Sixth Tone the government of Guxian Town, which oversees Xiaomenlu, hopes to turn this into a steady stream of tourism money. In their vision, villagers will open guesthouses for out-of-towners coming to see the well. The name for the main attraction hasn’t been decided yet, but Zheng says he likes “Water of the Many Children.”

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

New wave of bird flu likely to hit soon: expert warns - China Daily A new wave of bird flu is likely to hit China over the next few months, which could have serious consequences this year due to the high number of cases of human flu in many parts of the country, a prominent scientist warned. H7N9, which was first reported in China in 2013, is most active between January and March, based on experiences over the past few years, Zhong Nanshan, director of the National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Disease in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, told Xinhua News Agency.

China's first successful lunar laser ranging accomplished - Xinhua Based on the signals of laser pulses reflected by the lunar retro-reflector planted by the U.S. manned mission Apollo 15, the applied astronomy group from the Yunnan Observatories measured the distance between the Apollo 15 retro-reflector and the Yunnan Observatories ground station to be 385823.433 kilometers to 387119.600 kilometers, from 9:25 p.m. to 10:31 p.m. Beijing Time, on Jan. 22, 2018.

 

Agriculture And Rural Issues

U.S. gives safety approval to Chinese genetically modified rice strain - Reuters The rice, known as Huahui 1, was developed by a team at Huazhong University in central Hubei province to resist pests like the rice stem borer. While Chinese authorities granted the strain a safety certificate in 2009, it has never been approved for commercial production. Beijing has spent billions of dollars researching GMO crops but has held back from commercial production of any food grains because of consumer concerns about their safety. Validation of the country’s GMO safety testing and products by U.S. authorities could help persuade the government and consumers in China to accept the products at home.

 

Education

Chinese citizen pleads guilty to U.S. graduate school exam fraud - Reuters Xinyan Wang, who was a student at Lehigh Carbon Community College in Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston to charges that she misused a passport and committed visa fraud by using counterfeit travel documents to take the exam. Her plea centered on a single Graduate Record Exam (GRE) that prosecutors said Wang, 27, took on Oct. 20 in Boston using a counterfeit Chinese passport and a bogus visa in another person’s name that contained photos that resembled her.  

 

Beijing

Beijing to demolish 15 square miles of illegal structures - Reuters Beijing plans to tear down at least 40 million square meters, or a staggering 15.44 square miles, of illegal structures... The city will “ensure zero increase of such structures” this year and will continue to relocate people out of the city center, acting mayor Chen Jining said in an annual work report to the city’s government on Wednesday.

Beijing to open 3 new metro lines this year - Xinhua Three more urban rail sections are expected to open in Beijing this year, the city's acting mayor said Wednesday in a government report. The total length of metro rails in the Chinese capital will exceed 630 kilometers by the end of the year, Chen Jining said at the opening of the first annual session of the 15th Beijing Municipal People's Congress.

Beijing to close 500 manufacturing companies this year - Xinhua Beijing will shut down 500 manufacturing companies this year, to further move its non-capital functions out of the city, Beijing's acting mayor said Wednesday in a government report. More than 40 state-owned companies will be moved out of the city proper, Chen Jining said at the opening of the first session of the 15th Beijing Municipal People's Congress.

Beijing to add forests, greenbelts and wetlands - Xinhua Beijing plans to add 1 million mu (66,700 hectares) of forests, greenbelts and wetlands by 2022. The five-year plan, aimed at raising the city's forest coverage to more than 45 percent, was announced on Wednesday at the first session of the 15th Beijing Municipal People's Congress.

 

Jobs And Events

ChinaFile and NCUSCR Present: Chinese Civil Society in 2018 – What's Ahead? | Asia Society Mon 29 Jan 2018 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM Asia Society 725 Park Ave. New York, NY 10021

Correction:

I garbled a couple of characters yesterday, one I just can’t not mess up and one was just a typo. 单仁平 is Shan (not Dan $!*%!) Renping and 甄占民 is Zhen Zhanmin. Thanks to an alert reader, and apologies.